By Dave Andrusko
Plans by Britain’s largest abortion providers to text women who have “forgotten” about their abortion appointments was described by a member of Parliament as “morally squalid” and an attempt to exert pressure by prominent pro-lifers.
For its part a spokeswoman for British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) told Laura Donnelly of the Telegraph, “This will work as a reminder service, in the same way it does in some other parts of the NHS [National Health Service], reminding people to turn up for dentists’ appointments.” BPAS carries out almost one third of NHS-funded abortions.
Dr Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said the text reminders would exert pressure on women who may be uncertain about whether to continue with their initial plan to have an abortion.
“If you have got an unplanned pregnancy and you are in a crisis you would think it would be at the forefront of your mind,” he said. “Providers like BPAS and Marie Stopes International put women on a conveyor belt which is hard to get off. Sending text messages is an attempt to push women towards an abortion.”
Dr. Saunders’ thoughts were seconded by Stewart Jackson, Conservative MP for Northampton. “These kinds of tactics demonstrate the extent to which the clinics have trivialised abortion, treating it like a commercial service, or a 2-for-1 pizza deal,” he said.
Norman Wells, from Family Youth Concern, cited the BPAS’ annual report, saying
“Given that one of the main goals of BPAS is to increase its market share for abortion services provision in the UK and that it regards an increase in the number of abortions performed in the past year as a ‘significant achievement’, it is hard to see the text messaging service as anything other than a cynical way of putting women under pressure to go ahead with an abortion when they might be in two minds about it.”
The unnamed BPAS spokeswoman told the Telegraph, “We do have a number of women who do not turn up for appointments – in some cases it is because they have forgotten, in others it is because they changed their minds.” From the end of November forward, “all women who booked an appointment to terminate their pregnancy would be asked if they wanted a text reminder about it,” according to Donnelly of the Telegraph.
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